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Athletic Coaches In Connecticut Warned To Beware Of Heatstroke In Players

Aug 29, 2018

The start of school and college -- along with the start of athletic training schedules -- have coincided with yet another heat wave in Connecticut. That’s led to warnings from experts on heatstroke. 

With air temperatures in the 90s this week, and the effective heat index at over 100 degrees, conditions are ripe on the sports field for what’s known as exertional heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Earlier this summer a college football player at the University of Maryland died after collapsing at a team workout.

Doug Casa runs the Korey Stringer Institute at UConn, named for an NFL player who died of heatstroke in 2001. Casa told NPR recently injury and death is completely avoidable.

“We know in the world of exertional heat stroke, that when you cool somebody down to under 104 degrees within 30 minutes, survivability is 100 percent in all the people that have ever been studied,” he said.

Casa said it’s essential to insist on good hydration and rest periods, have an emergency plan in place, and if possible, access to cold-water immersion tubs. Casa said heatstroke emergencies have all but been eliminated at the professional level of football, simply because of proper protocols.

“The players, in conjunction with the NFL have developed appropriate policies to make sure that they stay safe, so in a sense the players have rights in the NFL,” he said.

Casa said it's concerning that balance of power is often absent at the college and high school levels, where coaches have less awareness of the issue, and sometimes push their players beyond reasonable limits.